GECOM must declare winner based on recount figures – former AG

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GECOM Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh

The role of the Chair and Commissioners at the Elections Commission is clearly defined in the Recount Order; and if the electoral body engages in anything outside of that, more so in relation to probing its own conduct, would be outside of what the law allows.

This opinion was expressed by the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), Executive Member, Anil Nandlall, in response to questions raised about how GECOM would proceed in relation to the number of baseless claims made by the incumbent coalition by way of the controversial Observation Reports, seeking to discredit the March 2, General and Regional Elections.

Now that the recount of ballots has been completed, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, is expected to present his report to the Commission for deliberation by June 13 and the Commission would then have no more than three days to deliberate on the report and declare a winner.

In addition to the tally of votes for each political party, Lowenfield’s report will also include a summary of the ‘observations’ made during the recount exercise.

However, Nandlall, a former Attorney General, has said that it is the recount numbers that matters most and not the “observations”, since GECOM would have to declare a winner based on the recount figures.

“A recount is a numbers game, it’s a recount of what was done on elections night, hence the term recount…”

Nandlall argued that the law does not allow for GECOM to engage in any action that would see it conducting a probe in relation to its own conduct.

“GECOM has no mandate at a recount to do anything outside of that,” he argued.

“The recount is a legal exercise. It’s an exercise that is governed by principles of law, and there are things that can be done in a recount exercise and things which cannot be done. So GECOM has no jurisdiction, no power, no authority to pronounce upon credibility, legality or validity, of its process,” the PPP Executive Member noted.

Nandlall added: “The Constitution of Guyana, Article 163, resides exclusively in the High Court, a jurisdiction and a power to deal with issues of credibility of an elections, omissions, allegations of wrong doing emanating from an elections”.

According to the vote tabulation, the PPP/C secured 233,336 votes while the APNU/AFC garnered 217,920 – a difference of 15,416 votes.

A New and United Guyana gained 2,313 votes; Change Guyana got 1,953; Liberty and Justice Party won 2,657; Peoples Republic Party received 889; The Citizenship Initiative won 680; The New Movement garnered 244; and United Republican Party received 360.